Strong second half propels Syracuse women past No. 1 South Carolina

SU continues its impressive tournament run and moves on to the Elite Eight for the first time in program history

Last year the South Carolina Gamecocks knocked the Orange out of the tournament and ended its season. On Friday Syracuse avenged its loss from last year, beating top-seeded South Carolina 80-72.

Syracuse got off to a hot start, but the Gamecocks went on a 20-6 run in the second quarter to take the lead. During the cold stretch, Syracuse was pressing South Carolina but wasn’t getting many turnovers. The Gamecocks repeatedly beat the press with good ball movement and got open shots. Tina Roy took advantage of the open looks, scoring 17 points in the first half, including five three-pointers. South Carolina entered halftime up 43-33 and led by as much as 13 late in the first half.

The Gamecocks continued to get open looks but struggled from behind the arc in the second half and the Orange capitalized. Senior guard Brianna Butler took over the game for ‘Cuse. Butler scored 16 of her 18 points in the second half, including 10 in the 4th quarter. She hit a pull-up jump shot to tie the game at 61 and then drained a three-pointer on Syracuse’s next possession to take the lead. Butler nailed a three with about one minute left to play to put SU up six, 74-68.

Alexis Peterson paced the Orange with 26 points and knocked down some clutch free throws late in the game to seal it. Brittney Sykes chipped in 17 points and 9 rebounds. And Briana Day collected 13 boards for Syracuse. SU played good defense and hit enough timely shots in the last 10 minutes to outlast South Carolina and move on to the next round.

SU will play 7-seeded Tennessee at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday in Sioux Falls, South Dakota for a chance to go to the Final Four. 

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